Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
IV. A Preacher’s Soliloquy and Sermon
By Henry Septimus Sutton (1825–1901)
The Soliloquy

WHAT wealth to earth our God hath given!
What growing increment for heaven!
Men, women, youth, and children small,
I thank the good God for you all!
Not always was it mine to give        5
Such high regard to all who live;
Time was, I know, when I could go
  Along the streets and scarcely see
The presences my God did show
  So lavishly to me.        10
Around my steps,—before, behind,—
  They His creative power declared;
I only heeded them, to find
  The easiest path, as on I fared.
And even the innocent little ones,        15
Of value high o’er stars and suns,—
Evangelists, by Heaven’s decree,
Commission’d truths to teach to me
  That elsewise I had never known,—
They seem’d young foreigners to be,        20
  They never seem’d mine own.
How could I be so dull and blind?
How dared I slight God’s humankind?
I know ye nothing care for me;—
  Each to each deep mysteries,        25
We cannot guess what we may be
  Except by what a glance can seize.
Perchance we never met before,
  Meet now the first and final time,
Yet are ye mine, over and o’er,        30
  That, haply, I may help you climb
To Jesus, up the mount divine.
Oh might such high success be minel
Fain would I couch your vision dim;
Fain would I lead you up to Him!        35
Nay, nay, I cannot yield up one—
  No little child, no youth, no man;
I cannot say, Depart from me;
  I cannot say, Begone, begone,
    I have no part in thee.        40
No part? But how? Do I not love you?
  Is not this title still more strong
Than if I’d bought you all with gold?—
Love strenuous flies, a spirit above you;
  Try to escape, it will outfly you,        45
  It will embrace, ay, and defy you
To break away its gentle hold.
Because God’s love is swift and strong,
Therefore ye all to me belong.
Why do I dare love all mankind?        50
’Tis not because each face, each form
  Is comely, for it is not so;
Nor is it that each soul is warm
  With any Godlike glow.
Yet there’s no one to whom’s not given        55
Some little lineament of heaven,
Some partial symbol, at the least, in sign
Of what should be, if it is not, within,
Reminding of the death of sin
  And life of the Divine.        60
There was a time, full well I know,
When I had not yet seen you so;
  Time was, when few seem’d fair;
But now, as through the streets I go,
There seems no face so shapeless, so        65
  Forlorn, but that there’s something there
  That, like the heavens, doth declare
  The glory of the great All-fair;
And so mine own each one I call;
And so I dare to love you all.        70
Glory to God, who hath assign’d
To me this mixture with mankind!
Glory to God, that I am born
  Into a world, whose palace-gates
So many royal ones adorn!        75
  Heaven’s possible novitiates,
With self-subduing freedom free,
Princely ye are, each one, to me,
  Each of secret kingly blood,
Though not inheritors as yet        80
  Of all your own right royal things,
For it were folly to forget
  That they alone are queens and kings
    Who are the truly good.
Yet are ye angels in disguise,        85
  Angels who have not found your wings;
I see more in ye than ye are
  As yet, while earth so closely clings;
As through a cloud that hides the skies
  Undoubting science hails a star        90
Not to be seen by other eyes,
  Yet surely among things that are,
So the dense veil of your deformities
  Love gives me power away to pull.
Alas! why will ye not from sin arise,        95
  And be Christ’s beautiful?
The Sermon

Ho! every one that thirsts, draw nigh, draw nigh!
The drink I offer, Christ’s own words supply.
Ho! every one that thirsts not, thirst, I cry;
Why will ye still neglect to drink,—and die?        100
See, here are living wells; why will ye scorn?
Ye unborn, why refuse ye to be born?
I call you to repent, oh hear my call!
Doth my voice reach you, through the stiff cere-clothes
That do enshroud and wrap you up withal?        105
Doth my shout come, a whisper in your ears,
As sounds might, travell’d from far distant spheres,
Into the ravell’d windings of a cave?
O then turn down those cerements of the grave
    From round about your ears;        110
Let my voice be as thunder, let it roll
    Into each wakening soul;
Come forth, O Lazarus! when I say so
Deem me a way where through Christ’s mandates flow,
And let each buried one attend, and know        115
The stone is roll’d away; Christ calls to him below.
Come forth, O Lazarus! when I say so,
Let where it lists His Holy Spirit blow,
Until each Lazarus comes forth, and know
Christ only waits to say—Loose him, and let him go!        120
His voice delights to set all prisoners free;
His blood, His truth, makes all sin white as wool;
Oh hear! Oh wash you, cleanse you, and so be
    Christ’s own, Christ’s beautiful!

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.